Shoulder Bursitis - Office Visit

This is a condition in which small fluid-filled sacs called bursae become inflamed. Bursae protect tendons and muscles as they move over bone.

This is a condition in which small fluid-filled sacs called bursae become inflamed. Bursae protect tendons and muscles as they move over bone.

Bursitis occurs when the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs, become inflamed (red and swollen). Bursae are located near joints and usually cover the parts of the bones that can irritate other structures. For instance, they help cushion and protect the muscles and tendons as they move over the bone. Sometimes swelling and inflammation of a bursa comes on suddenly and lasts for a short time (acute). Sometimes it lasts a long time and/or keeps coming back (chronic). Some of the common causes of bursitis include:

  • Overuse or repetitive use of a joint
  • Injury to the joint
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Infection in a joint

Bursitis most often develops in the shoulder, knee, elbow and hip. It is more common in joints that frequently undergo repetitive motions or are put in positions that irritate the bursae. Some of the symptoms associated with bursitis include:

  • Pain and tenderness of an affected joint(s), especially when you move or press on the joint
  • Swelling, redness and warmth over an affected joint(s)

Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of bursitis. He or she will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. Bursitis is usually diagnosed with a physical exam; imaging studies are not usually needed. However, your healthcare provider may order imaging studies (X-ray or MRI) to rule out other problems. They may also recommend lab work to try and find the cause of your symptoms. Treatment can include:

  • Resting the joint and stopping it from moving
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications as recommended by your healthcare provider
  • Exercise and physical therapy as recommended by your healthcare provider
  • Injection of a steroid or draining fluid from an affected joint
  • Antibiotics if the bursitis is caused by a bacterial infection

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of bursitis.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations).
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.

  • What is my causing my symptoms and what treatment are you recommending? Are there any alternatives?
  • When might I start to see improvement in my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? What is the reason for those tests? Will the test results change my treatment plan?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?

Make sure you understand your treatment plan, any possible alternatives, and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects). If surgery is recommended, you should understand why that recommendation was made. Seek a second opinion if necessary.


Also known as:

Shoulder Bursitis - Office Visit
Bursa helps consumers determine the average cost of common medical procedures in their location. By gathering and analyzing data from leading insurance providers across the US, patients can compare the estimated price of common medical procedures to determine their approximate out-of-pocket expenses. All rates are approximations and not guarantees based on data that is available to the consumer. There are currently 638 procedures available in our database. These results and the information contained within should in no way take the place of actual medical advice.

Do not avoid getting health care based on the information on this site. Not affiliated with any insurance provider, hospital, or medical professional. Prices are just estimates based on available data, and may vary based on plan, state, and provider. For informational purposes only.